Avalanche 6, Blackhawks 3

By: AP
By: AP

Marek Svatos scored twice and the scoring-challenged Colorado Avalanche broke through against Nikolai Khabibulin for a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

The injury-riddled Avalanche have had trouble putting the puck in the net with Joe Sakic (hernia), Ryan Smyth (ankle) and Paul Stastny (appendectomy) sidelined, but they scored three times in the first period off Khabibulin, who hasn't won since Dec. 26 against Nashville.

Milan Hejduk started it off with a wrist shot from the left circle that he flipped over Khabibulin's glove. Svatos added a goal two minutes later when he took a pass from Tyler Arnason, who stole the puck from Adam Burish in front of the crease.

With 90 seconds left in the first period, Brad Richardson sent a one-timer between Khabibulin's pads for his second goal of the season and first since Nov. 24 against Calgary.

That gave the Avalanche their most goals in a period since they scored five in the second against St. Louis on Dec. 9. The six goals represented their highest output since that night when they scored nine against the Blues.

Robert Lang's shot that trickled into the left corner of the net past Jose Theodore made it 3-1 in the second period, but Andrew Brunette restored Colorado's three-goal lead with a shot from the slot past Khabibulin on the power play. Hejduk and Svatos were credited with assists.

Arnason's fifth goal made it 5-1 early in the third period. Svatos, who came in with a five-game streak without a goal, added his second at 13:56, giving him four two-goal games this season.

Theodore, who stopped 10 of 11 shots, was replaced by Peter Budaj to start the third period because of back spasms. Budaj didn't get much of a workout -- he didn't face a shot on goal until 4:43 remained.

The second one he saw, from Yanic Perreault, went between his legs for an unassisted goal that made it 6-2. Perreault stole the puck from Jordan Leopold in the circle and slapped it into the net.

Perreault scored again with 23 seconds left.

Notes: The Avs had lost their first two games against Chicago, including a 2-1 shootout Jan. 18 at home. ... These teams wrap up their season series on Feb. 17 in Chicago when the Blackhawks return from a seven-game trip that began Wednesday night. ... The Avs play 10 of their 14 games in February on the road.


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